Infographics are a great way to connect with your customers, get shareable content onto social media and build your brand. And people want them. In the last 5 years, Google searches for infographics have increased by nearly 25 times.

That said, there’s a lot of hastily-assembled, snooze-worthy infographics out there, and they teach us just one thing: there's more to building an infographic than cool fonts and pretty pictures.

Here are some of the more valuable lessons we’ve learned on our own infographic journey.

1. Is it worth the effort?

While infographics are by no means a magic bullet, they’re an entertaining and engaging way to show your knowledge, reach new audiences and promote your brand. Expressing information graphically is as old as human culture — we’ve been painting images of hunters stabbing mammoths since we lived in caves — and it’s not going away anytime soon. 

Fortunately these days your audience is more likely to be potential customers and clients than cavemen, bats and future archaeologists, and that’s what makes infographics so powerful and exciting. 

2. Start with audience and purpose

Considering your target audience and what you want them to do after seeing your infographic is essential. While something broad like “promoting thought leadership” isn’t wrong, having concrete goals is important and enables you to accurately measure your success.

Remember, infographics are fun, but their impact matters just as much as any other content you publish, and it’s worth keeping an eye on how much and where your content is gaining traction.

3. Research and plan

Obviously, you can’t have an infographic without any information — and that means research. This is when you should be gathering interesting information, organising it into general areas, working out which facts and stats work well together, and developing the bones of your infographic.

Try to be flexible; there’s a lot of information on the web for just about anything and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Let your infographic develop naturally from the research you do — if there’s an area you find particularly interesting, chances are someone else will too.

Infographics are about getting across a new message, so don't compromise on the content. If a nugget of information surprises and intrigues you, keep it. If not, leave it out.

4. What's the angle?

Once you’ve got lots of engaging facts and stats, it’s time to work out what you’ll actually use. The easiest way to do this is to look for unifying themes. When we were building our second antiaging infographic, we found lots of facts about how various activities can affect how your brain works, so we settled on “Brain Changers” as our angle. From there, it was easy to pick the most relevant details out of our research and start coming up with the copy.

As well as helping you choose what to include, theming your infographics makes them much more shareable and engaging. While it might seem smart to include as broad a range of information as possible, less is more. Tailoring your content to a particular interest makes it much more likely to scratch an itch left untouched by less specific campaigns.

5. How much is too much?

When you’re dealing with interesting nuggets of information about a complex or broad topic, it’s easy to say too much by accident.

An infographic overloaded with text won’t be easy to read or appealing, but one without enough detail won’t keep people interested and sharing either. Try to think like an advertiser or newspaper editor; every space on every line is valuable so aim for maximum impact for minimum copy. If you’ve only got a sentence or two to explain something, you’d better do it as vividly as possible; if something takes a paragraph to clarify, it won't work.

6. What’s the visual link?

Once you’ve drafted your copy, the next step is to ensure it will fit with whatever visual elements you want to include. While we work with design partners, we do try to think about how the finished infographic will look and how the text and visuals can support each other.

For instance, when creating our “Brain Changers” infographic, we knew that there needed to be clear distinction between the everyday and lifelong activities, and that they’d be separated on the infographic. We wrote different styles and lengths of copy for each, so when the designer started to put things together, there were already cues and options to inform the design.

So get cracking. If you need a hand with the copy, we’re always here to help.

Some of our recent infographic work:

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AuthorAlex Stevenson